Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A Ricochet of Shadows and Mirrors

From the BBC:

To appreciate fully how the seemingly incidental presence of a ceramic folk craft from Latin America - when polished into pertinence by Velázquez’s virtuoso brush- becomes a visionary lens through which we glimpse the world anew, we must first remind ourselves of the cultural context from which the painting emerged and what it purports to portray. On one significant level, the work provides a self-portrait of the 57-year-old artist four years before his death in 1600, after he had spent more than three decades as court painter to King Philip IV of Spain. Palette in hand on the left side of the painting, Velázquez’s life-size selfie stares our way as if we were the very subject that he is busy capturing on an enormous canvas that rises in front of him – a painting-within-a-painting whose imaginary surface we cannot see.

The dimly lit chamber in the Royal Palace in Madrid in which Velázquez is suspended between brushstrokes is abuzz with the seemingly unchoreographed bustle of a motley crew of courtly players. In the centre foreground of the picture, to Velasquez’s left, we see the five-year-old Infanta Margaret Theresa, daughter of King Philip IV of Spain and Mariana of Austria, flanked by a pair of female attendants – the eponymous ‘ladies in waiting’. On the right side of the painting, a large and lounging mastiff endures the taunting toes of a playful young dwarf, beside whom an older female dwarf gazes out at us, reinforcing the feeling that the painting is watching our every move as closely as we are watching it. Behind the two dwarves, the Infanta’s chaperone, dressed for mourning, quietly confides to a bodyguard, whose thoughts appear to be drifting as she speaks. (Read more.)

The Polls Are ‘Inflated’

 From Lifezette:

Speaking at a grassroots summit via videoconference, Jen O’Malley Dillion made some startling accusations about the polls that show her candidate ahead by almost double digits. Not wanting to forget what happened in 2016 with Hillary Clinton, Dillion had some strong words for her voter base. She said, “Please take the fact that we are not ahead by double digits. Those are inflated national public polling numbers.”

 Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Dillion has made these types of comments. Last Friday, after record-breaking donations, Dillion let it slip via social media that the polls were a lot closer than what the media was portraying. She said, “Early voting is already underway in many states. Millions of voters have already cast their ballots. But there is still a long way to go in this campaign, and we think this race is far closer than folks on this website think.” (Read more.)


Social-ist Media

 From Devin Nunes at The American Mind:

Americans do not have to wait in line to buy bread yet, but make no mistake: In America today, the socialist propaganda network is already in place.

The mainstream media has proven that Americans can no longer rely on them for unbiased news. Having always leaned left, reporters abandoned all pretense of objectivity following President Trump’s election, turning their outlets into unabashed organs of the anti-Trump movement and every associated leftwing cause. This was amply demonstrated by the years-long Russia collusion hoax, in which every mainstream outlet scrapped journalistic norms on sourcing, anonymity, fact-checking, and other longstanding practices in order to advance the false narrative that Trump colluded with Russians to hack the 2016 election.

Increasingly, however, Americans are no longer accessing news reports through physical newspapers and magazines but through social media. In theory, social media is a democratizing force—people no longer need to own a media company or write for the New York Times in order to reach a potential audience of millions. But it’s now clear that the tech giants who control the digital infrastructure are not providing a neutral platform for all points of view. Instead, they have weaponized their platforms to help the Democrats.

Many people suddenly understood this following the censorship of the New York Post’s recent Hunter Biden stories. The articles were suppressed on Facebook and banned even from direct messages on Twitter, while links and press releases about the stories by congressional committee Republicans were throttled. The Post’s entire Twitter feed was frozen, as were those of the Trump Campaign and White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany.

These moves follow a long series of damaging actions our tech overlords have taken since Trump’s election. Twitter has claimed these moves are meant to improve “conversational health” on the platform, and that their concern is with “content obtained without authorization.” But given that no such standard has been applied to the Steele Dossier or the innumerable anonymous, leaked, and flatly unsourced attacks on President Trump, Twitter’s policies end up merely suppressing conservative speech—which is clearly their intent. (Read more.)

The Beauty of the Liturgy

 From The Catholic World Report:

Fr. James Jackson is a priest of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, and the author of Nothing Superfluous: An Explanation of the Symbolism of the Rite of St. Gregory the Great (Redbrush, 2017). In that book (and elsewhere), he writes eloquently and illuminatingly about the rituals and symbols of the Traditional Latin Mass, demonstrating that every gesture, every symbol, every second of silence, is packed with meaning and profound intent.

Fr. Jackson recently corresponded with Catholic World Report about beauty, its evangelizing power, and the special and important role of beauty in the Sacred Liturgy.

CWR: Why are we attracted to beautiful things?

Fr. James Jackson, FSSP: This is an essential question. It may be answered first by a practical explanation. The ancient Babylonians and later the Greeks came up with notions about a “golden ratio” and a “golden rectangle.” It makes for some fascinating reading. Few read about these things; they see credit cards and television screens and books and iPods shaped in rectangles, but rarely question why some many things are in that shape. Researchers have noticed that people process information inside rectangles – like text in a paragraph – readily and efficiently. They speak of a lighter cognitive load, so a book looks to us as if it is easy to read.

This is also all over nature. Fractals – irregular and self-similar geometry – occur everywhere in nature, from coastlines to snowflakes and leaf veins. They are even in our lungs. We respond to these patterns so well that just looking at them can reduce our stress levels as much as 60%. (Read more.)

Monday, October 19, 2020

Death of Marie-Thérèse de France

The daughter of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette died just three days after the anniversary of her mother's execution. Here is a quote from her Will: 
Following the example of my parents, I forgive, with all my soul, and without exceptions, all those who may have harmed or offended me; sincerely asking God to extend to them His mercy, as well as to me, and supplicating Him to accord me pardon for my faults.
I thank all the FRENCHMEN who have remained attached to my family and to me for the proofs of devotion that they have given us, for the sufferings and pains they suffered because of us.

I pray God to pour out His blessings on France, which I have always loved, even in the midst of my bitterest afflictions.

Having always considered my nephew HENRI and my niece LOUISE as my children, I give them my maternal blessing. They have had the happiness to have been raised in our holy religion, may they always remain faithful to it, may they always be worthy descendants of SAINT LOUIS! May my nephew consecrate his happy faculties to the accomplishment of the great duties which his position imposes upon him! May he never depart from the ways of moderation, justice and truth!

Joe Biden Is Not A Good Person

From Townhall:

None of us know Joe Biden, but we know enough about him to see, plain as day, that his “aw shucks, I’m just your average middle-class guy” routine is one of the greatest frauds ever attempted in American political history. In reality, he’s a wildly insecure man who covers it with arrogance. In adulthood, he’s never held a private-sector job for more than a few months but somehow managed to amass a fortune and houses larger than some warehouses. He’s not the affable lug he plays on TV; he’s a man with a short temper and a history of lying. He, Joe Biden, is not a good man.

The coverage of Joe Biden throughout his campaign has been liberally peppered with declarations of just how “normal” and “nice” he is, and he is to a media Biden needs and a media that is desperate to get Biden elected. Like the life of any elected official, he’s spent every day in office surrounded by people who never tell him “no.” Why would they? How would they? Their livelihood depends on him. Who tells anyone in that position they’re wrong or they can’t do something?

Biden has been an elected official since 1969, the year after he graduated law school. Elected to his town council at 27, he won his first Senate race at 29. Aside from his one summer as a lifeguard -- the summer he claimed a “bad dude” named “Corn Pop” was going to beat him up and a summer where Biden enjoyed young black children petting his leg hair and bouncing on his lap -- Biden has never had to shower from a day’s work, only in preparation for one. The only work he’s done with his hands is shaking other people's hands, creepily rubbing the shoulders of young women, and collecting money. (Read more.)

From The Dan Bongino Show:

What you’re seeing in many liberal cities is regular rioting supported by government officials. The police aren’t allowed to use effective tactics to stop the riots and worse yet, in many cases, the district attorneys simply release the vast majority of the rioters without charges. In those situations, the police inevitably pull back because there’s no point in arresting people that will be on the streets free and clear the next day with the blessing of the DA. So, what happens when people with that mentality control the Department of Justice? Could you see the DOJ go after police departments for doing their jobs? Absolutely. Could you see the DOJ under Biden accuse police departments of being racist for not letting protesters block traffic or harass people in residential neighborhoods? Absolutely. There a lot of Democrats that want to turn every city in America into Minneapolis or Portland and under Joe Biden, they may increasingly get their way. (Read more.)


The Truth About America

 From The American Mind:

Our country was not founded in racism—it was in fact conceived as a uniquely ambitious effort to abolish racism and destroy its intellectual foundations in the West once and for all. That project, over time and through much tragic hardship, has been successful beyond even what its architects may have dared to hope. The cost of that success—in patient intellectual effort, in wrenching expenditure of blood and treasure—has been enormous. But it was worth the cost and would have been worth more. America is a wonder of the world.

This is not what many Americans today think, because it is not what they have been taught. The results of a dedicated, decades-long effort to undermine the foundations of America’s faith in itself are now visible. Today that effort is led most visibly by Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times’s 1619 Project, but insidiously supported by Critical Race Theory training sessions in board rooms, small businesses, and until recently the halls of federal government agencies around the country. There is a diabolical genius to the way this effort has proceeded, in that it has involved both brute intimidation—in the form of cancel culture and its attendant threats of unemployment or unpersoning—and psychological subversion—in the form of an attack on our nation’s history.

It is this latter and more serious offensive against American civic life that President Trump has undertaken to countermand with his 1776 Commission for the promotion of patriotic education. Like the Progressives and Marxists who went before her, Hannah-Jones and her co-conspirators seek to erode American confidence in the basic goodness of our regime. If the Times, the Pulitzer Center, the ruling class, and their various minions can persuade us that the founders are not to be trusted—that they were disingenuous about their aims, that their timeless truths were actually self-serving lies, that the Constitution they composed has fallen fatally out of date—then they will convince us to commit national suicide all on our own. (Read more.)

Did the French Revolution Cause Nazism?

 From UnHerd:

The French Revolution began in 1789 as an Enlightenment experiment. In 1793, however, the Jacobins, led by Robespierre, tried to turn France into a Rousseauian theme park — where the people were sans private possessions and sans self-interest, but were suborned to the state (“the general will”) — by destroying the rich. The Jacobins also wanted to export the ‘benedictions’ of Revolution via the barrel of a cannon. 

Sound familiar? Yes, it is the same millenarian collectivist philosophy of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Pol Pot, Osama Bin Laden. The accompanying praxis was, and is, murder. Mass murder. As Robespierre so delightfully put it: “We must smother the internal and external enemies of the Republic or perish with them…Terror is nothing but prompt, severe, inflexible justice; it is therefore an emanation of virtue.” Before 1793, Europe  was no stranger to violence, but not until the French Revolution was murder used systematically to erase a designated internal enemy from its existence. The Jacobin’s mass firing squads anticipated absolutely the Nazis’ Einsatzgruppen.

The Jacobins desired “Year One,” a cheerless utopia in which individual freedom was rescinded in the name of the commune, and where the people were dosed daily with propaganda to rid them of their vices — such as the desire to own a home of their own (“Property is theft!”), to possess freedom of thought or to enjoy a private life. The Jacobins and their descendant mini-mes, in their thirst and thrust for absolute power, have disavowed all ordinary amusements. Hence the purist, monkish public image cultivated by Robespierre, Hitler, Mao, et al. (Read more.)


Sunday, October 18, 2020

A Brief Introduction to the Iconography of St. Teresa of Avila as Doctrix Ecclesia

From Liturgical Arts Journal:

It might be shocking to some (in particular those outside of the Hispanic world) to come upon an image of St Teresa wearing the biretta, which generally considered an exclusive item of clerical vesture. We must nevertheless remember that the biretta is the common ancestor of today’s varied academic headdress, including the iconic mortarboard used throughout the English-speaking world.

The characteristically Spanish stiff 4-horned biretta did not fully develop until the 17th century, which at this time is restricted to ecclesiastical, academic and judiciary circles. A code was developed to denote each of the main disciplines taught in university using the tufts and mozzettas worn: white for theology, red for law, yellow for Medicine and blue for philosophy, etc.

It was Pope Paul VI who in 1970 finally granted the Title of Doctor of the Church to St Teresa, finally answering a request that was first elevated in 1597 by all the cathedral chapters of Spain to Pope Clement VIII. The petition had been repeatedly denied by Rome dryly arguing Obstat sexus (her sex prevents it).

The devotion of the Spanish people was too great to be contained, and while the title of doctor of the church could not be used, this did not stop her receiving other titles such as doctrix seraphica or doctrix mystica.  (Read more.)

The Scalia Family

 From The Free Beacon:

"Enough to field a baseball team." That was the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s response when asked how many children he had. And he and his wife Maureen’s nine children have themselves parented, as of this week, 40 grandchildren. How big is the Scalia family? So big that, at the moment, it would not be allowed to hold an in-person gathering in the justice’s home state of New Jersey.

Even that count might not be accurate. Watching Judge Amy Coney Barrett testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, I couldn’t help thinking that the Scalia family is larger than the individuals directly related to him. In both her September 26 remarks at the White House and her October 12 opening statement to the committee, Barrett spoke of the influence Scalia had on her life and identified herself with his approach to the law. "His judicial philosophy was straightforward: A judge must apply the law as written, not as the judge wishes it were," Barrett told the senators. "Sometimes that approach meant reaching results that he did not like. But as he put it in one of his best-known opinions, that is what it means to say we have a government of laws, not men."

Whether it was for the students he taught, or the clerks he hired, or the lawyers he mentored, or the readers of his work, Scalia modeled a form of jurisprudence rooted in the text of the Constitution and in the American political tradition. His approach came to be called originalism (in matters of constitutional interpretation) and textualism (in matters of statutory interpretation). But his legacy is far greater than these contributions to legal terminology and methodology. What this son of an Italian immigrant accomplished was nothing less than a revolution in the law—and the promulgation of a distinctly American conservatism that is needed now more than ever.

It was Scalia who was among the first faculty advisers of the Federalist Society, and who addressed the society’s first national gathering in 1982. Along with his colleagues Robert Bork and Laurence Silberman, Scalia stood for the idea that judges should interpret the Constitution and statutes based on their original public meaning. The clarity of his argument, the force of his intellect, and the charm of his conversation enlarged the audience for his views. That audience exploded in size after President Reagan elevated him to the Supreme Court in 1986. Over time, the strength of originalism’s reputation in legal circles became so overpowering that some liberal judges, such as Justice Elena Kagan, felt it necessary to describe themselves, however ironically, as "originalists." (Read more.)


The Black Trump Vote

 From The American Mind:

Polls show Trump’s support among Black Americans (and Hispanics) is rising. This suggests that black Americans are in fact angry at being coopted for Democrat Party causes, even while they are intimidated into silence by the cancel-culture tactics of the Left.

Several other interesting indicators of anger: Kim Klacik, Candace Owens, Kanye West, Sharika Soal, Joe Collins: a growing list of black, highly visible celebrities and politicians who are fed up with Democrats. Republican congressional candidate Klacik’s viral video speaks for itself. Owen’s book Blackout has been riding the Amazon top 100 while other trendy books on race have come and gone. Soal’s enormous twitter following adores her conservative tweets. And Kanye West’s repeated arguments against abortion and its effects on the black community have been among the most powerful public statements in years.

Black Americans are angry with the Democratic party, but not angry enough. They should be very, very angry. They have good cause to be. (Read more.)

The French Revolution and the American-Catholic Today

 From Fr. David Nix:

The fact that most American Catholic grade-school children are currently taught that the French Revolution simply brought “fraternity, liberty and equality” might explain why most Catholics today blindly believe there is “mostly peaceful protesting” in places like Portland or Chicago. Remember that the “Convention” of the French Revolution (in a Catholic country) also held that the royal family was to be “under the charge of the legislative body until tranquility is restored in Paris.” Then, they killed King Louis XVI and his wife. Most Catholics didn’t want it to happen, but they didn’t have the courage to do anything.  They were shamed, without any evidence, into accepting the fact he must be evil just because the revolutionaries said so.  And the cowardice of the right cost the lives of tens of thousands of Frenchmen on the right and on the left.  Order would not return to France for at least seven more years. (Read more.)


Saturday, October 17, 2020


From The Wallace Collection:

Queen Marie-Antoinette commissioned some of the most brilliant craftsmen of the 18th century to make furniture for her rooms. This desk, with a drop-down front that hides a number of shelves and small drawers, was made by her favourite cabinet-maker, Jean-Henri Riesener, a German immigrant who produced new and exciting designs for the royal court.

The Wallace Collection is lucky to possess eleven pieces attributed to Riesener, many of them from Marie-Antoinette’s private apartments. Over the past few years we have been conducting a research project to learn more about the furniture maker and his workshop, and to cast light on the materials he used, the way in which his business operated and the evolution of his designs. We have been joined in this project by Waddesdon Manor and the Royal Collection Trust, who also own important collections of Riesener furniture. (Read more.)

Will Trump Win Again?

 From PJB at The Lawton Constitution:

The question this has raised is no longer whether Joe has “lost a step” — few deny that — but whether he retains sufficient mental acuity to be a decisive leader of the free world for the next four years. Two weeks out, however, voters seem not to care, or rather not to care enough to reject the Biden-Harris ticket.

The issue has been Trump. And the imperative for the president and his campaign remains to persuade the nation of several truths:

Biden is not physically or mentally up to the job. He will not be able to stand up to the radicals in his party who have extensive plan to enact in the next two years and a real possibility of doing so. [The bold is mine.]

If Biden wins, they will insist that the Senate do what Barack Obama told them to do: Abolish the “Jim Crow relic” known as the filibuster, and use 50 Senate Democrats to enact an agenda more sweeping than FDR’s New Deal. Of what does that agenda consist? To shift the goal from equality of opportunity in race relations to equality of results — in income, wealth, power. Reparations for slavery. Pursue the Black Lives Matter demand to “reimagine policing” and to “defund the police.”

On immigration, open an immediate path to citizenship and the ballot box for DACA “Dreamers.” End deportations. Grant amnesty to all 11 million to 22 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Abolish ICE. Open America’s borders to new and higher waves of immigration to make America the most racially, ethnically, socially and culturally diverse society in the history of man.

Pack the Senate by extending statehood to Puerto Rico and D.C., adding four new Democratic senators and making us a bilingual nation. Pack the Supreme Court by adding two new justices. Raise taxes on payrolls, personal incomes, corporations, capital gains and estates. Accelerate an end to carbon emissions by halting all offshore drilling and ending any reliance for energy, on coal, oil, gas or fracking. Free education for all from prekindergarten through college. On and on the agenda runs. But again, without the abolition of the filibuster, a GOP Senate minority could block this agenda that is designed to create a new American nation unlike the one we have known.

No, this is not the French Revolution. (Read more.)

Staring Into the Abyss

Why Catholics cannot in good conscience vote for Biden. Share

A Mencken for Catholics

A review of Dr. Esolen's new book by Casey Chalk. From The American Conservative:

Sex and the Unreal City is a clever, pithy assault on the ironic absurdities and irrationality of our notions of education, politics, and sex, among other things. Academics, says Esolen, are “undereducated, and overschooled.” Describing a mandated “seminar on the new-and-improved methods of education,” Esolen declares: “I could not get into the specifics of it, because there were no specifics.” He recounts a story of one professor who said that students should study “something that will be of use to you in the Real World, like feminist sociology.” 

Esolen accuses contemporary academia of rent-seeking. “We might call it a monopoly, a cartel, or a turnpike. The principle is the same. You control the only means by which ordinary people can get something ordinary done. They must cross the river at this point, and you hold the bridge.” Because American colleges control the bridge into successful professional careers—even if bordering on the prohibitively expensive, given average student debt—its own ineptitude is often overlooked or excused. Courses with titles like “Shakespeare and…,” actually mean “Not Shakespeare but Gender,” or “Not Shakespeare but Race,” states Esolen.

If we’re going to talk about university culture, we should also talk about sex, since they are the normalizers of what was once considered obscene. In a demonstration of why Esolen is no longer allowed in “polite” liberal society, he observes that homosexuals “sow seed where seed don’t go.” He is just as blunt regarding transgenderism. “We want to believe that our words can alter reality…. If a man claims to be a woman, which he can never be, and demands to be addressed as such, he is not merely asking for right etiquette. He is demanding that we enter his delusion.” The Magdalen College writer-in-residence reminds readers that there are more than six thousand physical differences between males and females. But, you know, she feels like a man.

His condemnation of abortion is just as forthright, and just as welcome. “The unborn child, at whatever stage we wish to name, is not a part of the mother, like a thumb. It has its own genetic code.” He continues: “In Roe v. Wade (1973), they ripped from the husband any say in the matter of his wife’s decision to kill their unborn child.” I’d never thought of it that way, but is it not the truth? The man, to quote comedian Jim Gaffigan, may only contribute to procreation “for five seconds,” but without the male, there ain’t no baby. Why, then, do men have no legal right to dispute an abortion? Are not men legal guardians of their children when they are born? (Read more.)


Friday, October 16, 2020

Death of Marie-Antoinette

Here also on the 16th of October, 1793 fell a once beauteous head- now whitened by sorrow not by age- and venerable for the angelic purity and patience, the royal courage and Christian submission with which it had exchanged the most brilliant crown of the world for a crown of thorns, and that again for the crown of martyrdom. Here died the QUEEN- one of the noblest and the purest, and yet, if human judgments be alone weighed, the most unfortunate of women- tried in almost every possible agony of affliction- except a guilty conscience- and in that exception finding the consolation for all. She arrived at this scene of her last and greatest triumph, jolted in a common cart, and ascended the scaffold amidst the vociferations of a crowd of furies, whom we hesitate to acknowledge as of her own sex. Never in that gorgeous palace, on which she now cast a last calm look, did she appear more glorious- never was she so really admirable as she was at that supreme moment of her earthly release. ~from History of the guillotine. Revised from the 'Quarterly review.' By John Wilson Croker
On reaching the scaffold she inadvertently trod on the executioner's foot. "Pardon me," she said, courteously. She knelt for an instant and uttered a half-audible prayer; then rising and glancing towards the towers of the Temple, "Adieu, once again, my children," she said. "I go to rejoin your father."--LAMARTINE (Quoted in Madame Campan's Memoirs)
I was a queen, and you took away my crown; a wife, and you killed my husband; a mother, and you deprived me of my children. My blood alone remains: take it, but do not make me suffer long.~ Marie-Antoinette
Last letter of Marie-Antoinette.
Her Forgiveness.
Madame Campan's account.
Transcript of her Trial. (Via Versailles and More)
The Mother.

More Anti-Catholic Bigotry

 From USA Today:

Like Barrett, I’m a successful professor and a Roman Catholic mother of many (I have six living children). Like Barrett, I see no deep or unresolvable conflict between my professional ambitions and my personal faith and family life. Like Barrett, I do not try to “do it all,” but rely on my supportive husband to do more than his fair share of domestic work and child-rearing. Finally, like Barrett, my faith and my fertility have unfortunately been placed front and center in discussions of whether I am the right person for the job.

For example, when I was first on the notoriously brutal academic job market in philosophy as a PhD student, visibly pregnant with my fourth child in my interviews, I was subjected to questions and comments such as, whether my work was really all about my religion, in the final analysis; and whether I think Catholic women can call themselves feminists. My personal favorite was when someone compared me (unfavorably) to Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who was widely known for, among other things, opposing contraception mandates, even as I was in the midst of explicating and defending the views of an atheist philosopher. (Read more.)

America in the Eighth Circle

 From Crisis:

As with all of the circles of Dante’s hell, the punishment here is carefully chosen to suit the crime. The liars and the counterfeiters rot away, consumed by diseased corruption. Why? Pervasive lying—whether in words or coin—is the decay of a republic, because it makes relationships between persons impossible. As many commentators have noted, no one will accept coin for his goods unless he knows that the currency is good; no one can learn from another if everyone lies. Thus, as Sayers says, the tenth ditch gives us “a society in the last stages of its mortal sickness and already necrosing. Every value it has is false… All intercourse is corrupted, every affirmation has become perjury, and every identity a lie. No medium of exchange remains to it, and ‘the general bond of love and nature’ is utterly dissolved.”

If interpersonal exchange is impossible, then so, too, is any hope of mutual benefit, or common striving for a common good. Only competition and enmity can remain. And so the punishment here goes beyond bodily disease. In many ways, the company of other sinners is their worst punishment. In other circles of the Inferno, the damned at least have some sense of companionship: Paolo and Francesca cling to each other, the Florentine patriots run together on the abominable sands, and even the panderers and seducers march together in orderly lockstep. But the liars live in perpetual hate. Gianni Schicchi and Myrrha run about “tearing and snapping… like tusked swine,” ripping any soul they find to pieces; Master Adam and Sinon—though both consumed with grotesque and excruciating illness—fight with fists and words; and indeed Master Adam desires to see the damnation of his enemies more than relief from his own suffering. All this shows the corrosive effects of the lie, and looks forward to the worse violence of the traitors in the ninth circle: the Alberti brothers, Ugolino and Ruggieri, and Satan himself.

Turning once again from the fourteenth century to the twenty-first, we see Dante’s horrible vision coming to life. The media lie, and the politicians lie. What is the public to do? We are confronted, on the one hand, with riots and arson and armed bands clashing in the streets and a public paralyzed by inconsistent and nakedly politicized health advice in the face of pandemic on the other. And there is the specter of further social breakdown as the election draws nearer. And still the guardians of public information lie. Indeed, it is hard to see how they could behave any differently. The media are, after all, wedded to lies on the things that matter most in life: the relation of God to man, man to woman, and parents to children. How could we expect honesty on such comparative trivialities as pandemics or public health? (Read more.)


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Women Wearing Armor in Historical Movies – Fact & Fiction

Although movies and miniseries like to show women warriors, few women in the past actually fought in battle, even when they donned armor for safety. And most pregnant women stayed far from battlefields. From Frock Flicks [Warning: Bad Language]:
MY EYES!!!!!! Not only does she wear this nonsense, it’s supposed to stir up the troops — instead of horrifying them, because why would you want your pregnant queen anywhere near the battlefield?

Co-showrunner Matthew Graham says in Elle: “We write her a real Henry V at Agincourt.” eyeroll Sure, Henry V was a great military leader, but he left the kingdom with a baby son and feuding uncles that led to the Wars of the Roses because the succession to the crown was disputed! Catherine and especially Henry VIII knew that the Tudor dynasty was fragile, and Henry wanted sons to secure his legacy.

OK, is there any truth about Catherine of Aragon going to war? Well, Catherine was appointed Governor of the Realm and Captain General in 1513 by Henry VIII while he was off fighting in France. And during that time, England dealt with an attempted Scottish invasion. Catherine was hands-on in the sense that she worked directly with the Privy Council and ordered several key preparations for the battle. Here’s where some armor fiction may have come from.

A blog post from the UK’s National Archives explains the situation and cites several entries in the Chamber Book Payments from early September 1513. Specifically: “Item, to Owen Holand upon a warrant for the conveying of 1500 almain rivets northward.” This is from Queen Catherine and she’s ordering up a bunch of armor, called “almain rivets,” plus weaponry from the Tower of London. That month, she attempted to accompany this shipment north, towards the Scottish border, as these documents in the National Archives describe.

So she went to the battle WITH armor. Not WEARING it.

She was taking 1,500 pieces of armor TO THE BATTLE, for, y’know, the soldiers. (Read more.)

Amy Coney Barrett Flips Script

 A most brilliant and eloquent lady. From The Western Journal:

During one such exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Barrett schooled the California Democrat and her left-leaning colleagues. Feinstein asked Barrett if she shares the view of late Justice Antonin Scalia, who she clerked for, that there is a constitutional guarantee for a right to same-sex marriage. Barrett hit her with the so-called “Ginsburg rule.”

“I’m not going to express a view on whether I agree or disagree with Justice Scalia for the same reasons that I’ve been giving,” Barrett explained. She continued, “Justice Ginsburg, with her characteristic pithiness, used this to describe how a nominee should comport herself at a hearing: no hints, no previews, no forecasts. That had been the practice of nominees before her, but everybody calls it the ‘Ginsburg Rule’ because she stated it so concisely and it’s been the practice of every nominee since.” (Read more.)

From The National Review:

Staggering friendliness.” That’s how one reporter described his encounter with People of Praise, the apostolic community that Amy Coney Barrett and her family belong to. I’ve always heard wonderful things about Barrett, knowing more than a few people who teach or have studied at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., where the Barretts have lived. No doubt some of that goodness has to do with People of Praise. And yet, I just finished a piece that used the word “sinister” in association with People of Praise. Evidently because we no longer have the capacity as a people to recognize that there was a world before Margaret Atwood novels. The use of the word “handmaid” now has to be about A Handmaid’s Tale instead of the greatest of the Christian apostles, Mary, most holy, as some of us pray daily. Some pray the Magnificat every evening, remembering the words of praise Mary proclaimed in her humble ascent to God’s miraculous work for her — to be the Mother of Jesus. This is Christianity 101. But many of us in the current culture never took that class. (Read more.)

From Live Action:

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, currently in confirmation hearings before the Senate, has faced scrutiny for her pro-life stance. A Catholic mother of seven, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, and a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Barrett has never hidden her knowledge and understanding that life begins at fertilization (often referred to as “conception”).

In 2006, as a private citizen, Barrett publicly supported St. Joseph County Right to Life, also known as Right to Life Michiana, which has been called “extreme” for taking the scientific position that life begins at fertilization. The organization ran a full-page newspaper ad in the South Bend Tribune noting the need to “defend the right to life from fertilization to natural death,” and Barrett and her husband Jesse signed their names to it. That advertisement also referred to abortion as “barbaric.”

During her January 18, 2013, presentation titled “Roe at 40: The Supreme Court, Abortion and the Culture War that Followed,” Barrett spoke “to her own conviction that life begins at conception,” reported Notre Dame Magazine. Abortion advocates are attacking her for this, but science shows that Barrett’s convictions align with scientific fact. (Read more.)


Hamilton the Mythical Musical

 From Progress:

Hamilton allied himself with others of scanty scruples, one being fellow immigrant Robert Morris. Like Hamilton, Morris had a Scotsman father, but unlike Hamilton his father was rich. How they enriched themselves was not a matter of morals.

Morris would sell the ragged Continental Army faulty military supplies at outrageous prices, enfeebling the already feeble bluecoat army. A frustrated General George Washington complained that the military contractor at home was a second front worse than the enemy in the field since the latter may be defeated while the former is as intractable as soldiers cussing.

Later Morris enticed Ben Franklin to join him in a land speculation deal. Ben lost all his money but being lovable his friends bailed him out. Years later, Morris set up an even bigger deal and lost all his own money. Not being nearly so lovable, he died friendless in abject poverty. Friend Hamilton died rich.

While both were in Congress, Hamilton put Morris in charge of the first National Bank which had been set up to house the gift of gold from the French king, Louis XVI (who was thinking less gift, more loan, silly him). Morris and friends (including Hamilton is not easy to show) did a series of paper transactions. They lent the gold to themselves, used it to buy the bank, and paid themselves enormous salaries and dividends.

Additionally, they printed too much currency, inflaming inflation, inflating land prices, further enriching land speculators. When their banknotes lost value, they refused to redeem them, preferring to keep the gold for themselves. Essentially, they legally looted the US’s first national bank. (Read more.)

Human Footprints Where They Shouldn't Be

 From Popular Mechanics:

A uniquely preserved prehistoric mudhole could hold the oldest-ever human footprints on the Arabian Peninsula, scientists say. The seven footprints, found amidst a clutter of hundreds of prehistoric animal prints, are estimated to be 115,000 years old. Many fossil and artifact windfalls have come from situations like this special lakebed in northern Saudi Arabia. Archaeologists uncovered the site, deep in the Nefud Desert at a location nicknamed “the trace” in Arabic, in 2017, after time and weather wiped the overlying sediment away. It’s easy to imagine that a muddy lakebed was a high-traffic area in the Arabian Peninsula over 100,000 years ago. When populations move on, these prints are left behind until they’re covered over. In the far, far older Burgess Shale event, some of the oldest organisms ever found were preserved intact because they likely fell into a mudslide and were killed instantly. An entire armored nodosaur was found in unprecedentedly good shape because it was encased in mud and in the cold of the ocean floor. If there were a finder’s fee for incredible archaeology, a lot of it would be paid to mud. (Read more.)


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Chivalry as a Way of Life

From Crisis:

Chivalry, as we said, wasn’t only a martial code. It was a way of life. It was, as one scholar put it, the “framework for lay society” in the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages, meanwhile, were nothing more or less than the application of Christianity to the whole of society. The so-called Dark Ages nearly severed the former Roman Empire from its pagan roots. Every aspect of religious, political, economic, military, and cultural life was reorganized by the Church along Christian grounds; that was their only point of reference.

The Church was unfettered from control by emperors and dictators. Slavery was abolished. Every aspect of public and private life was ordered to the salvation of souls through the Faith.

I have written here before that the West is on its way to another Dark Age. Ours is no longer a Christian society, but a pagan one. Our liberal democracies are now succumbing to the same twin errors—decadence and gnosticism—that destroyed the Roman Empire. Within a few centuries, nothing of the old order will remain. We Christians will have to rebuild civilization from its ruins. It’s only natural, then, that we should look to the Middle Ages for guidance.

Rod Dreher has been thinking along these lines for years. His book The Benedict Option urged us to look to the example of another great Medieval saint, Benedict of Norcia, for inspiration on how to build strong “intentional communities”: bastions of Christendom, safe-havens for the faithful, which can withstand the terror that will inevitably follow when our own Empire collapses. I agree with him wholeheartedly.

Yet it won’t be enough to build intentional Christian communities. We must also build intentional Christian men. Those men must be capable of building those communities and, when the time comes, defending them against the barbarian hordes—winning new souls for God all the while. To this end, I propose that we also follow the example of Saint Francis of Assisi. Call it the Francis Option. (Read more.)

SS. Michael, Margaret and Catherine appear to St. Joan

Jeanne d'Arc


Leftist Propaganda Resurfaces at the Smithsonian

 From The Federalist:

The first date in the timeline stuck out to me. While the Roe v. Wade case began in lower federal courts in 1970, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in 1973. While few Americans can put dates on more obscure Supreme Court rulings, many Americans, and certainly pro-life activists, know Roe v. Wade — perhaps the most well-known and controversial ruling in modern Court history — dates to 1973.

Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs for the March for Life, noted another problem with the display: By (accurately) noting that the first March for Life occurred in 1974 while (inaccurately) claiming that the Roe decision came down in 1970, it falsely implies the pro-life movement took four years to respond to the ruling.

While it is good that the world’s largest annual human rights demonstration is recognized on the list, by getting the date wrong on the Roe v. Wade decision the Smithsonian missed the major connection between that event and the first March for Life, which happened exactly one year later.

Roe was decided by seven men to control women through the lie of abortion. In direct response, the March for Life was created by one woman to celebrate women and life and to work to overturn that horrible court decision.

In response to my inquiries, the museum’s staff acknowledged the error and said they would fix the display as soon as feasible. Unfortunately, however, the suffrage exhibit contained flaws beyond a simple inaccuracy. (Read more.)

Magical Ritual or Holistic Healthcare?

 From Ancient Origins:

In the past it was not just the man, but also the renowned Asclepian centers that flourished in the ancient world. From the 6 th century BC to the 4 th century AD there were around 400 sites across Greece, Asia Minor and the Levant. The most famous were at Olympia, Corinth, Kos, Epidaurus and Pergamum, with Epidaurus and Pergamum having theaters that could seat up to 14,000 and 10,000 people respectively. 

 These numbers far exceed the capacity of London’s Royal Albert Hall (5,272), New York’s Metropolitan Opera House (3,800) or even the Sydney Opera House (5,748). What was it that attracted these multitudes? The answer is simple. Asclepian temples existed at a time when state-funded medical care was absent. The record of success of these religious-medical institutions saw their human founder elevated to the ranks of the demigods and mythologized as the son of Apollo, the god of healing. (Read more.)


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Catherine the Great (2019)

Helen Mirren as Catherine II and Jason Clarke as Prince Potemkin
 Let me start by saying that watching the Russian-made historical dramas about Russia that are now available on Prime have totally ruined for me any non-Russian productions. In my opinion, the Russian miniseries Ekaterina (2014, 2017, 2019) is still the best and most accurate depiction of the Great Catherine. Marina Aleksandrovna does an excellent job in conveying the subtle charm of Catherine and her remarkable ability to win people to her cause when she was a non-royal, powerless foreigner. It was that very vulnerability that won followers, as well as her brains and her genuine love for the Russia. The torment that the young Catherine experiences as a scorned wife and a thwarted mother in a court surrounded by enemies explains the consolation she eventually seeks in love affairs. In spite of her personal moral failings, she saves Russia as a nation and protects the Russian Orthodox Church from Protestantism.

I did have some hope for the series Catherine the Great with Helen Mirren but was ultimately disappointed. Too many f-bombs emitting from elderly actors. Yes, I know that Catherine's personal life was sordid and that the Russians are earthy people but that can be portrayed without someone saying "f---k" every three seconds. Furthermore, Catherine II was supposed to be only in her thirties when the story begins, but Helen Mirren is obviously much older, as well as the aged actors playing the Orlov brothers. I did find Jason Clarke to be a fabulous Prince Potemkin, Catherine's secret husband. I wish that there had been more about the Prince's massive engineering and building projects. The series touched on it, a bit. And it would have been wonderful to have more of their intellectual conversations, which would last all night and be taken up again in the morning. Potemkin was also an expert on the Russian Orthodox liturgy and spent time visiting monasteries. I suppose I should be glad that the writers totally left out Potemkin's nieces, one or two of whom were always with him, even when he died out on the steppes. For an excellent assessment of Potemkin's life and conquests one must read Catherine the Great and Potemkin: The Imperial Love Affair by Simon Sebag Montefiore. The book explodes the myth of the "Potemkin villages," a myth which tries to claim that the cities the Prince built for his Empress were a mere façade. Unfortunately, the genuine accomplishments of the pair, in times of both peace and war, are usually overshadowed by their scandalous personal and private habits, especially in movies.

Helen Mirren is marvelous as an older Catherine II. However, a great actress like Mirren should be able to create a strong female character without bellowing across the ballroom. The bellowing and shouting was perhaps an attempt to show modern audiences that Catherine was a powerful woman. However, the real Empress did not have to shout in public. She won and held onto power by being able to control herself in the presence of a variety of difficult people, often at great cost to herself. Although she was able to impose order on a vast empire she was never able to conquer her own demons. Tragically, the real Catherine possessed a seemingly bottomless abyss of emotional and physical need that not even the love of her Prince could fill. 

While any portrait of Catherine II can hardly ignore her obsessive search for love, the Ekaterina series avoided any exploitative, graphic scenes, in sharp contrast to Mirren's Catherine the Great, which at times is downright vile. The boy lovers who parade through her boudoir as the years pass do not make her appear to be independent and self-actualizing, but needy. It is clear that those young men want only the rewards they might receive from her. It is just as disgusting to see an old woman seeking gratification from boys as it is to see an old man taking his pleasure from young girls. The reality of any young person being pimped out for sex is degrading to those who participate in it. That sexual addiction was part of Catherine II's life should be seen as the weakness it was rather than exalted as a protofeminist virtue.

The most remarkable aspects of the production are the sets and costumes. Catherine II is usually arrayed in sumptuous blue or silver silks and brocades, flattering to Helen Mirren's blue eyes and grey hair. Shot in the lands of the old Russian empire, there are many magnificent gardens and palaces, including both the Winter Palace and Peterhof, the summer palace. The uniforms are detailed. The furniture and paintings appear to be authentic. Every scene, or almost every scene, is a work of art. Such a lavish production deserved a better screenplay, with more emphasis on Catherine and Potemkin's relationship and their political accomplishments, including more about their famous tour of the Crimea. There is so much about them to focus on rather than their promiscuity, which they themselves, as Orthodox believers, acknowledged as a failing.


Poorly Catechized Catholics

 From The Federalist:

It’s ironic Walsh takes offense at Barrett’s moral beliefs being associated with Catholicism when those very beliefs constitute core teachings of the Catholic faith. Her circular argument ends with a self-defeating point when Walsh acknowledges that Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church, also opposes abortion and contraception (in line, allegedly, with Barrett’s views).

Walsh appears to have a gross misunderstanding of what being Catholic means, equating Catholicism with statistical polling data of the personal views of 20th- and 21st-century American demographics, as opposed to living in accordance with the spiritual and moral teachings of the Catholic faith. As implicit evidence that Barrett’s views are offensive to Catholicism, Walsh points to polls wherein more than 50 percent of Americans who identify as Catholics support legal abortion while more than 40 percent do not.

Walsh might not have gotten the memo that Catholic teaching considers abortion an intrinsic evil, the killing of an innocent human child in the womb, and that the moral teachings of the Catholic faith are not based on polling data about what many nominal Catholics believe. That would be an incredibly empty and superficial “faith.” Instead, the faith is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ as articulated in Scripture and tradition, passed down to the apostles, and interpreted by the pope and the bishops as members of the magisterium, the divinely inspired teaching body of the church.

Walsh’s logic is absolutely nonsensical. In Barrett, she attacks a devout Catholic for having beliefs that are true to Catholic morality, portraying them as offensive to Catholicism. To say there is a logical fallacy here would be a gross understatement. (Read more.)


Some brave bishops and priests speak out, HERE.


Shakespeare's Last Play

 From the BBC:

The Two Noble Kinsmen, written by Shakespeare with John Fletcher, was found by a researcher investigating the work of the Scots economist Adam Smith. The 1634 printing could be the oldest Shakespearean work in the country. In the 17th Century the seminary in Madrid was an important source of English literature for Spanish intellectuals. The Two Noble Kinsmen was included in a volume made up of several English plays printed from 1630 to 1635. Dr John Stone, of the University of Barcelona, said he found it among old books in the library of the Real Colegio de Escoceses - Royal Scots College (RSC) -which is now in Salamanca. (Read more.)


Monday, October 12, 2020

Columbus and the Crisis of the West

From Eighth Day Institute:

During the riots that took place in America in mid-2020, several statues of Columbus were toppled. After a statue in Milwaukee fell, video circulated of people—mostly young white women—taking turns stomping on it. This was presumably because they regarded Columbus as the source of the displacement and killing of native peoples and subsequent slavery and racism in the Americas. Whatever the reason, however, it’s quite certain that, unlike Las Casas, the mobs knew little or nothing about the person against whom they raged—or about other figures, including abolitionists, even the black activist Frederick Douglass, whose statues they toppled. And probably did not much care to know, because it has become self-evident to many people, insofar as there is any conceptual basis for such notions, that the whole history of. Western exploration and expansion is nothing but a tale of exploitation, imperialism, and “white” supremacy. If you believe that, prior to any look at the facts—or any sense of the complexity of history—then it also appears wrong to try to sort out the good and the bad present in this process, as in all things human. That amounts, on the radically critical view, to making excuses for genocide and racism.

It used to be possible to assume that any person who had graduated from high school (even grade school) would be familiar with at least a few facts about what happened in 1492. That this is no longer the case reflects failing educational institutions, to be sure, but also—it needs to be said—an anti-American, even an anti-Western and often anti-Christian, ideology that has arisen within the West itself: all the West, because, in 2020, mobs tore down statues in England, France, Belgium, Canada, Australia, and beyond. This widespread unrest calls for careful attention. You don’t need to believe that the French or communist revolutions, for example, were of unmixed benefit to the human race to take the trouble to know dates such as 1789 or 1917 and something about what they mean. Yet the year in which a far greater change came into the world—indeed, began the colossal process by which the various nations and continents truly became one global, interconnected world—has been taught for many years now as something to be ashamed of, even to denounce. In a saner mood, we might regard it as owing to the boldness and tenacity of Columbus, however little gratitude he now gets, that we today inhabit that world. (Read more.)


Lifting the Veil on Soros

 From The Stream:

In Los Angeles, Soros is waging war on law and order by giving $1.5 million, so far, to make George Gascon LA’s next district attorney. As San Francisco DA, Gascon helped make his city a haven for the homeless and increasingly unlivable. He refused to prosecute camping on city sidewalks, public urination, soliciting sex and other crimes.

And in violence-riddled Chicago, Soros has spent $2 million this year to help keep State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in office. Under her watch, violent crime in Chicago is way up, with 290 murders and 1,480 shootings in the first seven months of 2020.

But funding progressive prosecutors is just the tip of the Soros iceberg. The 90-year-old radical is spending billions on a laundry list of liberal causes including abortion, LGBT activism, open borders, euthanasia, legalization of prostitution and drugs, criminal justice “reform,” gun control, defunding police, climate alarmism, erosion of U.S. support for Israel, and more.

Soros funnels his largesse through his Open Society Foundations which spends $1 billion annually and is active in 120 nations. Every year, OSF brags, it gives “thousands of grants to groups and individuals who promote our values.”

In 2018 alone, Soros poured $708 million into American politics, according to Capital Research Center president Scott Walter. The money, Walter writes, “went into politicized groups like Planned Parenthood, to fight for abortion; the Brennan Center, to tear down voter ID laws; and to all-purpose left-of-center powerhouses like the ACLU and John Podesta’s Center for American Progress.”

By comparison, Walter notes, the total combined revenue in 2017 and 2018 of the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee was $502 million. (Read more.)


From Discover the Networks:

New York hedge fund manager George Soros is one of the most politically powerful individuals on earth. Since the mid-1980s in particular, he has used his immense influence to help reconfigure the political landscapes of several countries around the world—in some cases playing a key role in toppling regimes that had held the reins of government for years, even decades. Vis à vis the United States, a strong case can be made for the claim that Soros today affects American politics and culture more profoundly that any other living person.

Much of Soros’s influence derives from his multi-billion-dollar personal fortune,1 which has been further leveraged by investor assets controlled by his firm, Soros Fund Management (SFM).2 As of 2011, SFM’s assets totaled approximately $28 billion. An equally significant source of Soros’s power, however, is his passionate messianic zeal. Soros views himself as a missionary with something of a divine mandate to transform the world and its institutions into something better—as he sees it.

Over the years, Soros has given voice to this sense of grandiosity many times and in a variety of different ways. In his 1987 book The Alchemy of Finance, for instance, he wrote: “I admit that I have always harbored an exaggerated view of self-importance—to put it bluntly, I fancied myself as some kind of god or an economic reformer like Keynes or, even better, a scientist like Einstein.”3 Expanding on this theme in his 1991 book Underwriting Democracy, Soros said: “If truth be known, I carried some rather potent messianic fantasies with me from childhood,” fantasies which “I wanted to indulge … to the extent that I could afford.”4 In a June 1993 interview with The Independent, Soros, who is an atheist,5 said he saw himself as “some kind of god, the creator of everything.”6 In an interview two years later, he portrayed himself as someone who shared numerous attributes with “God in the Old Testament” — “[Y]ou know, like invisible. I was pretty invisible. Benevolent. I was pretty benevolent. All-seeing. I tried to be all-seeing.”7  Soros told his biographer Michael Kaufman that his “goal” was nothing less ambitious than “to become the conscience of the world” by using his charitable foundations,8 which will be discussed at length in this pamphlet, to bankroll organizations and causes that he deems worthwhile. (Read more.)


A Certain Idea of France

 From The Claremont Review of Books:

Charles de Gaulle was a simple, unpretentious man. Charles de Gaulle was complex, haughty, and Machiavellian. Much of Jackson’s book revolves around this apparent contradiction. But it neglects how the general himself had clarified it in his memoirs, by agreeing with Franklin Roosevelt’s judgment of himself as “stuck up,” but faulting FDR for not asking whether de Gaulle was “stuck up” for himself or for France.

Jackson’s illustrations of de Gaulle’s simplicity are often moving. A colleague in the provisional government in Algiers who followed him home to retrieve a briefcase found him cuddling and singing love songs to his severely disabled daughter—something which occupied much of his free time. Those who dined with the de Gaulles in those years reported drinking out of sawn-off bottles and eating the most frugal of foods surrounded by the most basic of furniture. Even as president of France, living in the Élysée Palace, his tastes and habits outside of official functions remained spartan.

De Gaulle had tried unsuccessfully in 1940 to persuade persons more prominent than himself to head the Free French movement. When he took the job, he humbly felt “like a man on the beach proposing to swim across the ocean,” as he put it. Between 1940 and 1944, dramatically subordinating his personal interest to his professional interest and to the national interest was essential to the moral authority—he had no other—by which he asked people to hazard their lives for the common cause. Later, even as he wielded the near-monarchical powers of the Fifth Republic’s presidency, his personal behavior embodied the proposition that greatness consists only of identification with a great cause. Once that identification ceased, once he was freed from service to that cause, he retired to a humble country house, worked, and watched TV with his wife. He acted as an ordinary neighbor to his neighbors and refused to see anyone connected with government or politics. So consistently monastic was he personally that no hint of financial or sexual scandal about de Gaulle would ever have been taken seriously.(Read more.)


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Depicting a Sacrifice of Tears

From Gwyneth Thompson-Briggs:

 St. Cyprian writes that the water represents the faithful who are united indissolubly to Christ. In the ancient Roman Rite, the accompanying prayer associates the water with human nature and the wine with the divine nature: “da nobis per hujus aquae et vini mysterium, ejus divinitatis esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostrae fieri dignatus est particeps—grant that by the mystery of this water and wine, we may be made partakers of His divinity who vouchsafed to become partaker of our humanity.” The water’s absorption by the wine thus at once recalls the Word’s assumption of human nature and symbolizes man’s divine adoption and sanctification. In a few moments, the water made wine will become the divine Blood of the Godman. It is no surprise, then, that St. Thomas Aquinas, among others, cites the Patristic association of the water and wine with the water and blood that flowed from the side of Christ (Jn 19:34).

Reflection on Our Lady’s role in her Son’s sacrifice suggests another, complementary interpretation of the ritual of the Offertory water. At the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, Simeon had prophesied to Mary that “thy own soul a sword shall pierce” (Lk 2:35). For a suffering “longer and greater than all the martyrs,” she is known as Queen of Martyrs, and the liturgy solemnizes the veneration of Seven Dolours of Our Lady especially in two feasts intimately linked to Our Lord’s Passion: on the Friday before Good Friday and on the day following the Exaltation of the Cross. Dom Guéranger, in his entry from the Liturgical Year for the Feast of the Seven Dolours on the Friday of Passion Week, writes that on the Cross, “an ineffable union is made to exist between the two offerings, that of the Incarnate Word, and that of Mary; the Blood of the divine Victim, and the tears of the Mother, flow together for the redemption of mankind.” Our Lord offers His Blood; Our Lady offers her tears. The two offerings flow together, but because of the intimate union between Our Lord and His Mother, their source too is in a certain sense one. In her apparition to St. Brigid of Sweden, Our Lady recalls that “when He looked down at me from the Cross, and I looked up at Him, tears streamed from my eyes like blood from veins. . . Therefore I boldly assert that His suffering became my suffering, because His Heart was mine.” From the one Sacred and Immaculate Heart flow tears and blood. Perhaps the mixing of water into the Offertory wine recalls this mystery of Our Lady’s com-passion.

The mystical union between Our Lady’s sacrifice of tears and Our Lord’s sacrifice of blood is the subject of a new painting of Our Lady of Sorrows by sacred artist Gwyneth Thompson-Briggs. (Read more.)